A happier missive from the Bishop of Chelmsford

Coincidentally I received today another missive from the Bishop of Chelmsford, nothing to do with Communion, which starts as follows:

JOHN by Divine Permission LORD BISHOP OF CHELMSFORD  To our well-beloved in Christ  PETER RICHARD KIRK  a single person and  LORENZA … a single person a citizen of Italy both residing in the Parish of St Mary Great Baddow in the County of Essex

GRACE AND HEALTH  Whereas you are as it is alleged resolved to proceed to the Holy Estate of Matrimony …

Yes, this document with its greeting in pseudo-biblical language is our marriage licence. As Lorenza is not British, and we want to get married in church here in England, we have to follow this procedure, rather than having our banns read. We considered getting married in Italy, but the paperwork for that would have been much more complicated. This licence is valid for three months, and that means that it is now less then three months until our wedding, on 24th October.

I don’t suppose the Bishop of Chelmsford had a personal hand in issuing this document. If he had, in the light of my open letter to him, I wonder if he would have refused, or at least modified “well-beloved in Christ”! But then I doubt if he could have refused, given the way that the Church of England is tied up by its own laws and those of the state. Anyway, Lorenza and I are very happy that there is now no legal impediment to our marriage.

0 thoughts on “A happier missive from the Bishop of Chelmsford

  1. Actually Peter, there is a connection. The church (in its many versions) has tried to own and control both communion and matrimony (by some versions both sacraments). I have always wondered how and when the church became the owner of the rites of matrimony.

  2. Well, yes, Jay, deep down there may be a connection, although the Church of England denies that marriage is a sacrament. It is of course entirely voluntary that we have chosen a Church of England wedding rather than a state or free church one. So this is hardly a matter of control. And it is probably the state that requires that the couple are properly identified, in an attempt to avoid this kind of abuse.

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